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  • A History of Britain, Volume 2

  • The British Wars, 1603 - 1776
  • By: Simon Schama
  • Narrated by: Timothy West
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (128 ratings)

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Summary

Simon Schama's sweeping history of Britain breathes life into our past centuries, vividly depicting exactly what life was like for our ancestors and how their experiences have shaped modern British culture and identity. An informative and entertaining mixture of anecdote and analysis, Schama's work offers a real insight into what it is to be British.
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What listeners say about A History of Britain, Volume 2

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A History of Britain, Volume 2: The British Wars,

I adore this series of history books and particularly this narrator (Timothy West). If you need a comprehensive overview of British history then look no further,Schama has done a cracking job which contains different aspects to his TV adaptation. Start with Volume 1 and sit back and learn as much as any college degree

2 people found this helpful

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Old-school history of battles and kings

This is not the more balanced history that we ought to expect nowadays. It is is a reassertion that history is composed of battles and speeches by great men, with very little indeed to illustrate the speeches of actual protagonists, so that we can hear their actual words. Nor does it give much of a hinterland of social and economic change, against which to understand it. Disappointing that such a prominent history should be so embedded in an essentially Victorian perspective of history.

1 person found this helpful

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Unswitchoffable

This is the central book in a trilogy. I urge you to read or hear the others.
Simon Schama has a felicitous turn of phrase "Clive was back in Britain, his pockets jingling with silver"
Timothy West is at his melifluous, authoritative best , reading the text as if he had just thought of it.
Together an instructive, hugely entertaining read.

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Great stuff, but there is no gap between sections

The only bad thing about it is that there is no gap between sections and chapters, the narrations starts immediately.

As well, the chapters could be titled, and the sections too.

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Written with balance, performed with verve.

Although born and raised in Britain it's good to hear of the conquest of India. Schama is balanced in his writing so that the reader can absorb and come to their own conclusions. nevertheless, West is a superb, entertaining narrator.

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Jaw dropping

They didn't teach me any of this at my (expensive) school in the 1980s - I am learning the true history of my country for the first time, and I am finally able to put into context what is happening to it now.

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Fabulous narrative from Timothy West but poor writing.

Schamas apologist stance for all wrongs done in Britains name moves from the tiresome to the annoying by the end. Not sure how this character is considered an English historian.

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Excellent book on British constitutional history

Perhaps the most comprehensive reference to British constitutional history between the Tudar period until the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. A fascinating period in history, written with wit and great knowledge by Scharma and delivered with class by West.

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Factual but dry

A rather starchy account of a very interesting period of British history. Good if you're an enthusiast.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • peter
  • 24-11-10

History as art and entertainment

Timothy West is one of the best narrators I have heard, and here makes a good book into a great and riveting one. He brings the book to life. This is a brilliant buy if you want to find out whether you like listening to books, although you may be disappointed later on if you expect other narrators to be as good as this.

The TV series were good but West makes a better job of reading the work than Schama made of presenting it in pictures. Schama's genius is to vary the pace of the narrative and move the story along by switching from big themes to personal details and reminiscences. He has an instinctive feel for the linkages between different places and times. His judgments about the main characters are balanced and sympathetic, without letting the villains or fools off the hook. If you want a good introduction to Stuart Britain, this is the book to buy. England, Scotland and Ireland get a fair share of the tale, which is sometimes missing in the work of other writers. The next volume, through to the present, is just as good, but more contemplative.

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  • Christine Newton
  • 26-01-17

A favourite entry in my audio library

Any additional comments?

This series is one of my favourite audio series in my library. I regularly rotate audio books out of my iPod Touch library to make room for other audiobooks, but this series always stays. The narrator's tone aligns wonderfully with the author's writing style. This series meets my expectations perfectly - there's a lot of history to cover so of course the author had to be choosy regarding what to emphasize. If one of his intentions was to spark the reader/listener's interest and use this series as a jumping-off point for our own explorations into specific periods of history, then the author was successful. I have absolutely no regrets at all about purchasing this audio series. Both the narrator and the author are excellent story-tellers.

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  • timelady
  • 16-04-15

Masterful, vivid storytelling of history

History come vividly alive, with people and events throughly analysed and colourfully, masterfully explained. The narration is excellent too. Not to be missed. Brilliant work by one of Britain's finest historians.